From Dokdo – Dokdo is a Line

Growing up in California you don’t really gain an appreciation for sunrises – waking up early is always a lesser notion to romantic strolls as a deep citrus glow dances on the surface of the Pacific under a swirling mix of orange and purple. But in Korea, sunrises are hard not to appreciate as the morning wakes you up with it’s ambient energy gliding over the rolling mountains that pave the landscape.

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The Last Persimmon of Winter

The fiery orb is a vision. Perched high above the heads of passing silhouettes it stares back into a black landscape sketched out by the fresh snow. The ornament on the grey tree unnoticed. It sits lonely on a branch illuminated by the adjacent streetlight. Snow falls gracefully unaffected by its presence, just as it has seemed unaffected by the weather for all these months.

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Flamboyant Shirt Man

Less than three minutes on this bus and the world around me instantly transforms. From the quaint rural city peppered with tall apartments to flat farmlands lining the kempt Korean valleys. And in a few minutes we will reach a small village’s single bus stop at the bottom of a highway exit ramp. And every day, expectantly, I see him.

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Watch’s Digging

The watch itself is a noticeably large rock of a watch attached to my wrist. If I was ever attacked it would be a deterrent with its sheer size alone. It never comes off except the once a month it needs to be charged. I shower with it.

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Yecheon Blues

This is what I’ve come to know Korea as and on these mornings this yellow pours out across the landscape coloring my world. It’s like a time-worn photograph that I’m trapped in; This is Korea to me. My hands escape inside my coat pockets so they don’t turn a deep purple in this cold bus. I press my nose down into my scarves and close my eyes.

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From Nepal – The Artist (Part Two)

Time continues to slow to a crawl. I’m stuck in my head. I can’t see a way out. I realize at this point I have no escape. I can only think of one option. Honesty is my Hail Mary. Honesty isn’t an exploitable weakness here, it’s the perfect retaliation. It’s the antithesis of their game, it allows me to run in the opposite direction of where they want me to go. But I need to be stubborn.

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From Nepal – On Arrival

This is where I see a man in my periphery, as my eyes darting back and forth trying to get a hold of the situation, look behind him across the street then he looks at me and says “Stephan?” But I don’t notice where he was looking at or why he did it; the mob he is a part of is distracting and it gets lost in the static of the situation.

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The New Year Retrospective

When I came to came to Korea I did not get it. I couldn’t find a way to make it work within my 2×3 frame. It was challenging coming from California, with such a drastically different look and feel to it. I knew this on some intangible level, I didn’t realize what that actually meant, and I didn’t realize I didn’t realize it.

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